Eugene Robinson drops a bomb in the middle of his column on the incipient cutoff of unemployment insurance payments for 1.3 million Americans. He argues that since it would make more economic sense to extend the benefits, “cruelty is the point” of cutting this hole in the safety net. Robinson cites rhetoric from Republicans such as Mitt Romney and actions from Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner in order to make the case that Republicans believe in cruelty and hardship as the base metal that will alchemically become gold. Though PostScript is not sure what, in this metaphor she started, the alchemical process part represents. Anyway, Robinson accuses Republicans in Congress of engaging in deliberate cruelty for ideological reasons.
AllDone basically makes Robinson’s case, though PostScript has scant reason to believe AllDone is a Congressional Republican:
We can’t save everyone. If you really feel strongly about it, mortgage your home and start a shelter, otherwise don’t try to sound more caring than the rest of us, because you aren’t.
Two commenters lived through unemployment, using unemployment benefits and other parts of the safety net:
The wheel of fortune turns and I got really lucky. Started a high paying permanent job three weeks ago after over a year of unemployment. My time of unemployment taught me humility and compassion for those struggling in their lives and out of work. It ain’t no vacation. I am also grateful to Uncle Sam for the unemployment benefits. It wasn’t much but it sure helped.
I was laid off at 65; unemployment was about 65% of what I had been earning. Couldn’t survive on it, went to Social Security and Medicaid. Had I been 55, I would likely have been living under a bridge in Aurora, IL.
republicanatheist feels strongly enough about it to argue for the government/unemployment office to MAKE work for the unemployed, even if it’s pretty useless work. We could teach a whole new generation absurdism:
If you want an unemployment check, do some work. It could be counting paperclips. That will be more motivating than the requirements we now have.
Elsewhere, TheDoodeAbides riffs on the same theme, but PostScript thinks he or she is kidding:
Why don’t we build paupers’ prisons and get some WORK out of these deadbeats?
santaregina is also probably kidding:
And let them eat cake.
rjcat1 thinks Robinson can blame both parties for the bill that passed bipartisanly:
Mr. Robinson, 168 Republicans and 163 Democrats voted to cut off benefits.
And a different rj, rj2008, thinks not, because Republicans are flip-flopping:
Republicans voted to extend benefits 5 times under Bush.
Politifact agrees, though interestingly, it also cites similar Republican rhetoric even as the bills passed with Republican votes. Also, job security seems to have made Congress less productive. PostScript is just saying.